Yesterday I conducted a stress management workshop for a group of Grade 11 and 12 learners. They were saying that they are feeling a great deal of stress and pressure at this stage because of their work-load and the thought of the upcoming exams.
I wish I could talk to all other learners and students out there about the importance of keeping their thoughts focused and not to dwell on the possibility that they might not do well! I use the analogy of the trapeze artist on the high-wire. If he/she allows him/herself to think that they might fall, this will probably happen (it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy).
It is therefore crucial for students to monitor their thinking and alter their thoughts if they notice themselves becoming negative. A pattern of “what-if ” thinking, for example “What if I can’t answer the questions in the paper and I fail” should therefore be banished and replaced by thoughts such as “I will do the best I can”. These ideas come from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). “What-if”"thinking, if not controlled, can lead to runaway feelings of anxiety and stress.
I also spoke to the students about the importance of practicing relaxation and mindfulness exercises to help with focus and to calm the mind. It is also essential to pay attention to one’s body and health at times of pressure and stress – to eat well, exercise and to get sufficient sleep.
By keeping your stress levels in a zone that is optimal for you by doing the above, you will be well prepared, physically and psychologically, for the road ahead. All you will need to add to this recipe for success is a great deal of focused study!
Please contact me if you have any questions about the above or any other aspect of stress management.